Washington imposes sanctions on two large entities connected with coup leaders
The United States has imposed sanctions on two Myanmar business entities that are connected with the military regime.
Announcing the move, US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken described it as the most significant action from Washington so far.
"Members of the Burmese (Myanmar) military have taken increasingly disturbing actions aimed at their own citizens since February 1," he said, according to the Department of State on Thursday.
"In response to the military’s refusal to disavow the coup and continuing violence against peaceful protestors, today the United States is taking its most significant action to date to impose costs on the military regime," said Blinken.
"The United States is designating two entities linked to the coup leaders, Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC). MEHL and MEC are the two largest military holding companies in Burma, and all shares in them are held and managed by current or former Burmese military officers, regiments, and units, and organizations led by former service members," he said.
"These actions will specifically target those who led the coup, the economic interests of the military, and the funding streams supporting the Burmese military’s brutal repression. They are not directed at the people of Burma," he added.
Secretary Blinken further said: "We are taking this step alongside the United Kingdom, which is announcing a similar action on MEHL today.
"The UK has been a close partner in our response to the coup. By designating these entities, the United States and the UK have shown that we will follow through on our pledges to promote accountability for the coup and the abhorrent violence and other abuses we have seen in recent weeks.
“In close collaboration with the UK, Canada, and other allies and partners, we continue to call on the military to cease all violence against the people of Burma, release all detainees and halt future arrests, lift martial law and the nationwide state of emergency, remove telecommunications restrictions, and restore the democratically elected government," he said.
"The United States will continue to work with partners throughout the region and the world to press the Burmese military and police to cease all violence against peaceful protesters, to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Burma, and to urge for the immediate release of political prisoners," he added.